Sure, you could go traditional and plant a maple tree on July 1st in celebration of Canada’s big 150. Or you could flaunt your patriotism a tad more quietly with a Canadian-bred, new for 2017, velvety red rose. But if what you really want is to go all-out, in-your-face “Hooray For Canada!!!” then bright red and white flowers are the answer. Here are some eye-popping options:
FIRE AND ICE DAHLIA: These novelty mignon dahlias (like a single dahlia but with round ray floret tips and small blooms only about 2″ in diameter) are petite but they are show-stoppers if planted in a large group. Position in full sun and they’ll bloom from summer until frost. Find them in “Canadian Celebration” packages of 3 tubers. (Photos, above, courtesy of Florissa.)
SWAN RED AND WHITE AQUILEGIA: This striking Columbine hybrid (above) will bloom from spring through summer in a mounding, multi-stemmed, upright habit, reaching up to 2 feet in height. Great in a container or in a flower bed. Plant in part sun. (Photos courtesy of Ball Horticultural Company.)
LANAI® CANDY CANE VERBENA HYBRID: This heat tolerant annual (left) from Proven Winners is a great option for a container planting positioned in full sun. It’ll only grow in height up to about 10″ but it trails in abundance with stems offering up blooms from spring to hard frost.
Buy several of these plants to create a lush planting that’s bound to make a singular statement in a tall container or hanging basket. If you need more plants to fill out your arrangement, consider plants that let the blooms of your Candy Cane Verbena remain the stars of the show. You could supplement your planting with non-blooming plants with interesting foliage in green or darker shades of purple or fill out your container with contrasting verbenas with either white or deep red blooms. I like Superbena® Royal Romance Verbena–a new introduction for Canada this year (2017), also from Proven Winners–sporting deep burgundy red blooms. (Photo courtesy of Proven Winners.)
SUPERTROUPER™ RED WHITE DIANTHUS: The full doubled blooms of this carnation (above) are fragrant so think about planting in a container you can place next to seating on your patio to take full advantage of its gorgeous colouring and scent. With an upright habit, growing to a maximum of 14″, it’s a terrific choice for a container planting in full sun. (Photo courtesy of Ball Horticultural Company.)
AND IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR NATIVE FLOWERS…
LOBELIA CARDINALIS AND PYCNANTHEMUM VIRGINIANUM: Wildflowers native to Canada don’t usually have flowers that are both red and white (at least none that I’m aware of) but these two plants–Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower) (above, left) and Pycnanthemum virginianum (Mountain Mint) (above right)–planted together in a naturalized part of your garden will multi-task by doing your salute to Canada justice while helping support flying critters. They’re both magnets for butterflies and hummingbirds.
Plant them together randomly in a large grouping keeping in mind that the Cardinal flowers will grow into tall, brilliant spikes of scarlet blooms from 2′ to 5′ tall while the Mountain Mint will fill in the grouping with softer sprays of small white blooms on lacy branches growing from 1′ to 3′ tall. Both plants require medium to moist soil in part shade and both bloom from mid- to late summer (although the Mountain Mint may continue blooming into fall). (Photos courtesy of Wildflower Farm.)
A WORD ABOUT SHOPPING FOR THESE PLANTS
You’ll be seeing a lot of flowers specifically packaged and marketed for celebrating Canada’s birthday (see below for two more offerings from Florissa, for example). These should be widely available across the country but, like most plants distributed by wholesalers to garden centres, choices can vary from region to region. So if you can’t find a specific plant at your local garden centre you will be able to find them online to order from Canadian-based plant suppliers. You’ll also find more red-and-white bi-colour flower options at almost all garden centres including fuchsias, roses, lilies and tulips.